The Yankees took down the Blue Jays in the series opener 3-1. A very good outing from Cole and the bullpen gave the Yankees the edge on Monday night. It was the second time we saw the pairing of Cole and Higashioka this season. This is something that has become more common since the end of last season. As it turns out, Higashioka getting the start ended up being the difference.
Higashioka was batting eighth in his second start of the year. He’s always been a catcher more known for his defense as opposed to his offense, but his bat showed up Monday night. He was responsible for all three runs that were batted in. His two-home run and three RBI effort was a much-needed spark for New York offensively. It was another game in which the offense couldn’t string any hits together. This made Higashioka’s presence in the lineup vital for the Yankees.
Will the pair be used more often?
Aaron Boone was asked after the game about the plan regarding Cole and Higashioka moving forward. A duo that Yankee fans have seen a lot of in Cole’s recent starts. He responded by saying that Higashioka “is going to catch [Cole] a lot.” However, he also said that he still plans to match up Sanchez and Cole as well. A pair that we have seen a lot of in Cole’s time with New York.
In starts with Sanchez catching, Cole’s line is: 69.1 IP, 53 H, 24 ER, 19 BB, 91 SO, with 14 home runs allowed.
In starts with Higashioka behind the dish, Cole’s line is: 38.1 IP, 25 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 59 SO, with 5 home runs allowed.
Throughout the year, expect Boone to mix things up. He will most likely try and use Higashioka more going forward, but it seems like Sanchez will get his fair share as well. It will be something fans talk about throughout the season.